The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that convenience chain Wawa is testing an all-digital store on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia.
According to the story, "In the new format, all items must be purchased via the Wawa mobile app or at the in-store touch screens. The orders are then fulfilled by associates behind the counter." The concept was birthed during the pandemic, when Wawa leadership looked for ways to reduce face-to-face contact between employees and customers.
A spokesperson tells the Journal, "We are always testing new formats to provide the greatest level of convenience for our customers, some of which include our drive-thrus, our fly-thru mobile order windows and now a full-serve, digital experience format."
- KC's View:
The smartest retailers are looking for was to reduce friction while improving the customer experience. Not everyone will see all-digital interactions as a step forward, but enough will - especially on a college campus - to make this a worthwhile experiment.
I'd guess we'll see a lot more of this as we see more checkout-free stores and other tech-driven advances. The most receptive customers (young people!) will get older and more mainstream in their shopping needs, but their ability to embrace and navigate tech will remain intact.